Archive for Theatre Posts


The Wisdom of The Widows


The Widows play is based on a real-life experience that my good friend, Jackie, and I had in a hotel room, backpacking through India together in 2003.

The play is very much about boundaries, symbolized on stage by mosquito nets over the beds. As both women begin to feel safer in their surroundings – and with each other – the nets and the boundaries fall away as candid truths are revealed, both about their very different paths through widowhood as well as their completely different hopes for the future.

The Widows is an exploration of friendship and the wisdom that can be shared when two people love and respect each other enough to speak the truth, even when it hurts…because the truth often does.

The Widows play was staged for a single performance, directed by Lynne Karey-McKenna at the Abbotsford Fringe Festival back in 2008. The script has gone through multiple revisions since then.

The Widows

Crystal Mantie and Theresa Chevalier in The Widows play, 2008

In real life, Jackie and I met through tragic circumstances. Her first husband, also a police officer, was killed by a drunk driver coming home from work. I was working in the Records Processing Unit at the time and had taken an incident report from him over the phone, earlier that night. John, also a police officer, was working that night and was at the scene of Jackie’s husband’s crash. Jackie had a two month old baby at the time.

Three months later, when John died, Jackie reached out to me. “Because,” she said, “I think I might have some idea what you’re going through.”

Did she ever. Fourteen years later, that baby is now a teenager – and Jackie and I are still close friends. Unfortunately, we live two provinces apart 🙁

When The Widows script is where it needs to be (I think it’s close!), the 50-minute play will be staged, followed by a screening of the Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood documentary (2006) and then a facilitated discussion will be held.

Since both the play and the film discuss in depth the ‘to be or not to be…a Mom?’ decision, it makes sense to pair them together for a unique performance experience.

The motherhood choice is one that many women today struggle with partly because they have a choice. For many women, gone are the days when motherhood is a must. But with choice comes responsibility…and both the play and the film delve into this rather touchy subject matter with courage and candour.

And on the subject of boundaries, Whatever Floats Your Boat deals with them, too. For when it comes to speaking candidly, one person’s truth can threaten to sink another person’s ship. But I am learning, over and over again, that at the end of the day, we are the ones responsible for our own thoughts, feelings and actions. No one else can sink our ship – or even just rock our boat a little – unless we let them.

You can view the Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood documentary on-line. Both Jackie and Theresa are in the film.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening and the playwright of Saviour. She is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and the Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive Maryanne’s weekly blog, please sign up here


March 18th, 2014 – This press release about the Saviour play, by Pink Gazelle Productions CEO, Maryanne Pope, just went out through the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund:


 Fundraiser Takes Centre Stage

 Innovative theatrical production will support Alberta charity


Calgary, AB – For ten years after her husband died, Maryanne Pope looked for the right words to share his story, to express the grief, pain, and, ultimately, the strength and inspiration she found in coping with his loss. Now, she hopes her award-winning script will be a saviour for the charity that bears his name.

Saviour: A ‘Tough’ Love Story – a play written by Pope, the widow of Calgary Police Service Const. John Petropoulos – is ready to hit the stage in performances in Calgary and Edmonton this fall. The theatrical production explores the compelling, true-life story of the circumstances that led to John’s death and explores the impact on those left behind. Then, it delves deeper, providing a fictional account of what the police officer’s own response would have been to such a preventable tragedy.

The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) – a charity committed to first responder safety – is producing the play, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization…

Please click here to read the entire press release.

Here is the link to further details about the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund Saviour play performances in Alberta in October 2014.




 Saviour Play as JPMF Fundraiser in Oct 2014


Fiction must stick to the facts and the truer the facts the better the fiction – so we are told.

— Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own

It only took me a decade but at long last my full-length dramatic play script, Saviour, is ready to stage as a play! And the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund (JPMF) is going to do just that in October 2014: hold 6 special fundraising performances of Saviour. Hooray!!

Here’s a snapshot of Saviour:

Sam, a police officer, steps through a false ceiling while searching a warehouse and hits his head. As he succumbs to his injuries, it is the soul of the dead writer, Virginia Woolf, who takes him to the moment of his pending brain-death. Meanwhile, on the other side of the stage, Sam’s wife, Adri, wakes up to her new life as a young widow, as Sam’s Sergeant, Tom, guides her through the first three months of grief.

Saviour is a powerful and engaging story about the basic human need to live and die with peace of mind – and just how incredibly difficult that is to achieve. Saviour promises the audience a fast-paced, imaginative and compelling theatrical journey that has strong links to real-life events.

Saviour is a love story that challenges the notion of romantic love and suggests instead the staying power of tough love.

John & Maryanne on beach

John & Maryanne, Summer 2000

The play offers audiences hope that peace and positive change can come from tragedy. And the ties to the factual aspects of John’s death and the workplace safety initiatives of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund add another layer of authenticity. Saviour is an excellent play for the JPMF to use as a fundraiser because it is a powerful testament about the importance of people making their workplaces safe for everyone, including emergency responders.


Providing the JPMF gets the necessary funding in place, here are the Alberta 2014 performance dates, so be sure to mark your calendar:

Calgary: Wed Oct 1st, Thur Oct 2nd and Fri Oct 33rd

Edmonton: Wed Oct 8th, Thur Oct 9th and Fri Oct 10th

As you may know, staging a full-scale theatrical production is not exactly a simple nor inexpensive endeavour…me & my big ideas!

As such, here are links to some of the Saviour project details:

Saviour Project Proposal (4 pages) for 6 JPMF Fundraising Alberta Performances

Saviour Sponsorships Package (Yes – we are seeking sponsors!)

Here is a sneak peek at the Saviour poster (all Saviour graphics designed by Bryce Beresh of Yeti Creative)

In addition, the Saviour play script is also being shopped to theatres across Canada & the US to be considered for regular production – with much help from Trevor Rueger, Executive Director of Alberta Playwright’s Network. I have worked closely with the Alberta Playwright’s Network over the years developing the script. Trevor will also be the Director of the 6 Alberta JPMF fundraising performances!

“The play is a very strong, passionate, humorous and dramatic journey of a young widow coming to grips with her new reality while the spirit of her husband struggles to unsay some of the things that were said. Maryanne and I are in the process of shopping the script to producers across the country. As the Executive Director of Alberta Playwrights’ Network I am very cognizant of the work that we are sending to potential producers. I am selective about the work I send out, as we need to send out work of a certain quality or at a certain level of development in order for our recommendations to have any weight within a national context. All that to say that we are shopping this play to producers because it is ready; production ready, performance ready and ready for an audience to receive it.”

– Trevor Rueger, Alberta Playwright’s Network

That’s it for now on the Saviour front…but I’ll keep you posted 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakeningthe upcoming book, Barrier Removed; A Tough Love Guide to Achieving Your Dreams. Maryanne is the Board Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund and the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions Inc.